Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 17, 2014

Pillafi

Something I rather like about retro recipes is how often their creators tried to come up with catchy, creative new names for dishes. Take this one, which is mushroom vegetable rice with a cute new name courtesy of the Riceland Rice company:

recipe

PILLAFI

1 pound mushrooms
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
Few sprigs of parsley, chopped
1 cup canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Riceland Rice, uncooked
1 cup water

Slice the mushrooms into a skillet. Add the onion, green pepper, parsley, tomatoes, tomato paste, oil, butter or margarine, salt and pepper. Place on low heat; in about 10 minutes add the Riceland Rice and water. Cook 20 minutes in all. Add hot water, a little at a time as needed, if the mixture becomes too dry; but when the rice is tender, the liquid should be completely absorbed. (Watch carefully to keep from burning. If a lid is put on the skillet during part of the cooking time, the rice cooks more quickly and is less likely to stick.) This recipe makes 4 services of one of the most delicious and popular of all rice dishes… world-famous Pillafi.

You’ve probably never heard of pillafi, and neither has Google — but “pilafi,” commonly known as pilaf in the United States, would definitely qualify as world-famous.

ingredients

I haven’t had a pilaf dish with quite this many vegetables before — more vegetables than rice, now that I’m looking at the picture.

veggies

Contrary to instruction, I started cooking the onion and green pepper first; I generally find that their crispiness needs a bit of additional time.

mushrooms

The mushrooms were added shortly thereafter, though; while they don’t necessarily need much time cooking, it does give them a delightfully buttery flavor.

tomatoes

I waited much longer to add the canned tomatoes and parsley.

rice

The rice and water were added right afterwards, and everything was covered to simmer for a while. I did add about a half-cup of additional water towards the end because I was worried it wasn’t completely finished; it might not have been entirely necessary, but I think it helped add a bit of volume and fluffiness.

serving

This was delicious. The kids usually proclaim their dislike of onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes, but ate this without complaint and asked for more. It was a great balance of vegetables and mushrooms, and tasted rich; I was surprised it was so flavorful with only salt, pepper, and parsley.

Somewhat to my surprise, this recipe, complete with the Pillafi spelling, can still be found on the Riceland Rice website. The 1952 version, however, comes from Charm and Poise on Flickr.

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Responses

  1. A form of “Spanish rice” – it looks really good!

  2. Did you use the entire 1/4 cup of oil and just a single tablespoon of butter?

    • It was more like a couple tablespoons oil and a heaping tablespoon of margarine. You definitely need some grease for sauteing the veggies, but as written the recipe is fairly rich. Good question!


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